Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our Day at Wimbledon

Our day at Wimbledon was fantastic. Brit Boy and I both kept saying, “I can’t believe that we are here.” You know how it is sometimes when you look forward to experiencing something in your life and then you finally get to experience it and you say to yourself, ‘Is that all that there is?’ Well going to Wimbledon was not one of those situations at all. (smile) We have all had our share of letdowns in life and God knows that I have had my share in my life, but this day at Wimbledon was just a beautiful reminder that there are still some great experiences out there despite the problems in the world. Our experience at Wimbledon was my first of two reminders last week that there are still glories and truths and things in this world to be excited about. My other reminder came a few days later, but more about that to come.

So Brit Boy and I got up bright and early on Tuesday, June 24th and readied ourselves for our day out. The gates were to open at Wimbledon around 10:30ish and since we had to travel a bit from Wembley to get there, we had to get going early. We had a bit of a hiccup that morning with our hotel room. I mentioned in my last entry that we had to wait a good while to get checked in and then had to collect our key later. Well the fun just kept happening because that morning I was the first into the shower and it was not working. Ugh!!!! Not a good thing.(laugh)But I didn't miss a beat and just plopped myself down and had a very quick bath and Brit Boy did the same. There was no way that we were gonna turn up at the storied lawns of Wimbledon without touching a bit of water. (smile) This was only a minor blip. Nothing was going to stop us that day. I wore my mom's green-stoned ring. I always wear something of hers when I go somewhere new here, because I feel like I am taking her with me. I never got the chance to show her England like I wanted to because she missed making it here by three months. So I take a bit of her with me and it feels like it sets things right. So anyway,when we got down to the lobby, we reported our shower not working and then we were off to Wimbledon.

Brit Boy and I had been praying for great weather for weeks and we certainly got it that day. It was just wonderful…warm and sunny with a breeze. I had always heard that the Wimbledon area was leafy and green and it is that way on the walk down to the complex. There were shuttle buses taking people to the tennis complex from the tube station, but we just walked along with everyone else. The day was too pretty to not walk the couple of blocks and take it all in. Along the way, there were vendors selling food and things. Also there were street teams giving out cereal bars to spectators. Brit Boy and I got a couple. They were chocolate and orange cereal bars. The chocolate and orange combination is a very popular combination here in England. It was free and we hadn’t eaten yet, so I ate it as we walked along. (smile) Brit Boy ate his when we sat down later.

Just as we arrived, the gates were opening. Across the street, some people were veering off to another area to wait to see if they could possibly pick up some tickets to at least get into the grounds. We had thought about doing that too if we hadn’t been so lucky to get our tickets. It is a good option and a good chance to get in also. So anyway, we went through the gates with everyone else and then went through security. They just checked your bags or whatever you were carrying. We traveled lightly. I only had my small over the shoulder purse and my camera. Brit Boy carried a small bag with a couple of things in it.

Once we made it through security, we headed over to get a bit to eat. We timed it just right, because there weren’t too many people in line at that point and the drinks were nice and cold.(smile) We found a nice seat on a bench near a flower pot and had sandwiches and Pepsi. Then as a chaser, we had the traditional strawberries and cream that are a part of the whole Wimbledon scene. They were nice. Brit Boy did remark that he thought that the cream was more like milk than cream. We both thought that it would be thicker when we imagined what it would be like, but it was still wonderful. Here is a photo.

After we finished our little picnic, we took a walk around. People were steadily arriving and there was a lovely atmosphere. Our first quasi-“celebrity” that we spotted was a journalist from Sky News here in the UK. I can’t recall her name and neither can Brit Boy, but she was one of the blond ladies on there. (smile) She was talking on a cell phone as she passed us. Here is a photo of the part of the grounds that they call Henman Hill. It’s named after the former British #1 tennis star Tim Henman.

Then we walked around to the souvenir shop. We were going to go into the museum, but it was closed at that point. We always try to find a keepsake from our adventures together, so we bought a little keepsake box that has the Wimbledon insignia on it. Each of us also purchased a t-shirt. Mine is pink with the Wimbledon emblem on it done up in sparkly beads. What can I say, I love a bit of bling sometimes. (smile) Brit Boy opted for a basic white shirt with a small emblem on the chest. Here is another photo of the grounds.

After a bit more of a walk around, we went ahead and made our way to our seats in Centre Court. While we waited for play to start, we saw the backs of retired tennis star Tracy Austin and Sue Barker who were doing a courtside bit of chat for tv preceding the match. Sue Barker is a former British tennis star who now does commentary and sports presenting for the BBC. Tracy Austin also does commentary for the BBC. Here is a photo of Centre Court before the first match.

The first match that we saw was Venus Williams versus Naomi Cavaday. From her very first serve, I was just in awe of Venus’ muscular tennis-playing prowess. Wow, you can see why she is the champ. Her serves were like lightning. I told Brit Boy that I so want sleek muscular arms like her. She is powerful. She is tall and has long legs and arms which would make you think that would make control tough for her. But she uses her length to her advantage and couples it beautifully with sheer athleticism. She is a great athlete and I am so glad that we had a chance to see her play and win. (smile) Her opponent Naomi Cavaday was good too. She held her own and kept the match close most of the whole way through.

The second match that we saw was Rafael Nadal versus Andreas Beck. Nadal is also tremendously muscular and powerful in his play. I watched the monitor that showed the speed of serves and he and Venus had serves that were similar in speed…well into the 100mph plus range. During the match, a lady collapsed in the stands across the court from us. This guy ran up from several rows down to come to the lady’s aid. The guy running was the reason that most of us noticed the activity. Brit Boy and I wondered how the guy noticed it from that far below the commotion. We wondered if he was a doctor or something since he seemed to be tending to her. There were others crowded around the lady and security was there to help. The guy that ran up the stairs yelled, “Call 911.” We figured he must have been from my side of the pond, because here the emergency number is 999 and it is 911 back home. And kudos to him and all of the other helpful people that were there to help this lady. She was helped away to get medical attention and I guess that she was alright. I hope so. The match continued on after an initial halt when she passed out.

In between the sets you are allowed to go in and out of the match to get refreshments or whatever. Brit Boy and I sat through both of the first two matches, because we didn’t want to miss anything, but by the third match we were getting hungry. So we ducked out after the Nadal match and went to get food. This time the lines were quite a bit longer, but we still made out okay. This time Brit Boy had a tuna and cucumber sandwich and I was feeling adventurous and had a wrap with duck in it. I had never had duck before, so I figured that I would live a little. Well, let me just say, that was my first time and last time having duck probably. I ate it and didn’t let it go to waste, but I didn't like the taste. Brit Boy said that he had had duck before and he didn’t like it also. So that is another thing we have in common. (smile) I know that lots of people like duck and that is great. Everything doesn't suit everyone's taste. That is the fun in the world...there is something for every taste. (smile) After we ate, we walked back towards Centre Court, but stopped off to share a cup of ice cream…it was praline and caramel. Lovely stuff. (smile)

Then we went back to watch the last match with Andy Murray and Fabrice Santoro. They had started by the time we got back so we had to wait a minute to go back to our seats. This match was good too. Murray won.

When we were walking around the grounds before we left, we looked at one of the balconies and saw tennis greats Boris Becker and Tracy Austin being interviewed. Boris Becker popped up again in our London adventure later in the week and he was nearly thisclose. (smile) I’ll tell about that later. Here is a photo of a bit of a trellis along the grounds that I thought was pretty.

We walked back to the tube station with all of the other happy spectators. It had been fabulous and everyone was in a good mood. The tube station was bursting at the seams by the time we got there. There were scores of people queued to buy tickets. Thankfully we had our Oyster cards which are a prepaid card that you use for journeys on London public transport. We bought them before the last time we went to London and now when we go up there we just top them up with more credit. So we swiped our Oyster cards, got on the tube and headed back to our hotel.

We had a glorious day and we will never forget it. Going to Wimbledon is a great experience that we hope to repeat again. I don’t know if fate will hand us Centre Court seats like that ever again, but after that great experience, we can’t be picky. (smile)


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Dori said...

Thanks for the great suggestion Jen. I will check it out.


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Dori said...

Thanks Viqi for visiting my blog and subscribing. That was an extraordinary week that I had! I can't believe it is already three weeks ago now.(smile)I will check out too. And I will definitely be checking out your blogs some more.


Mikaela said...

I have loved the Williams sisters for years, and Venus even better than Serena. :) I haven't been watching tennis actively for a couple of years now (due to losing the channel that aired most tournaments), but on men's side my favourite used to be Marat Safin.

Jealous! :)